Out Loud: The Public Face for Gay Rights in America
Joe Solmonese (COM’87), president of the Human Rights Campaign, speaks to BU students about the accomplishments of the LGBT community
Click here to watch Joe Solmonese on BUniverse.
Joe Solmonese (COM’87), president of the Human Rights Campaign,the nation’s largest political network for lesbian, gay, bisexual, andtransgender (LGBT) equality in the United States, speaks to BostonUniversity students about the accomplishments of the LGBT communityduring the last two decades. Solmonese reflects on what it was like tobe a gay college student during the height of the Reagan administrationand the AIDS crisis. “Not only were there no LGBT groups on campus, but there was only one out gay guy,” he says. “And it wasn’t me.”
Two decades later, he says, the LGBT community has made enormousstrides, both on and off BU’s campus, particularly in the past fouryears. “The 1990s and early 2000s were largely defensive eras,” hesays. “We were fighting against federal marriage amendments and fighting for hate crime legislation. But we’ve since entered an age where we can advance more proactive agendas.”
Solmonese encourages members of the LGBT community to come out to theirfamilies, friends, and colleagues. “We must be out and proud,” he says,“because every time one of us comes out, it moves public opinion. Wemust erase the hatred in this country.”
October 23, 2008, 4 p.m.
Howard Thurman Center
About the speaker:
Joe Solmonesebecame the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’slargest political network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender(GLBT) equality in the United States, in 2005. He is at the forefrontof the gay rights movement. In the past year alone, he has appeared onnational television to question Democratic presidential candidatesHillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the issue of marriage equality,hosted a weekly GLBT-themed show on XM Satellite Radio, and gone head-to-head with Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.
A native of Attleboro, Massachusetts, Solmonese lives in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Boston University’s College of Communication in 1987 with a bachelor of science in communications. He is the former chief executive officer of EMILY’s List,one of the nation’s prominent Democratic political action committees,which aims to help elect progressive, prochoice female candidates tooffice.
Solmonese traces his interest in politics to his senior year at BU, when he interned in the scheduling office of Michael Dukakis, then governor of Massachusetts. He later campaigned for Barney Frank during the Bay State Democrat’s 1990 congressional bid.
As HRC president, Solmonese lobbies politicians on Capitol Hill andtravels across the country to speak on matters of social justice,marriage equality, health-care benefits, and hate crime legislation.3 Comments